The High Court has ruled on a high profile court case questioning the legal right of local councils to fluoridate water.
A decision from Justice Rodney Harrison, released today, rejected all grounds of a legal challenge from an anti-fluoridation campaign group which disputed South Taranaki District council’s decision to add fluoride to water in Waverley and Patea.
Justice Harrison further concluded that water fluoridation is not a medical treatment, and does not differ fundamentally from other public health interventions aimed at a wider population, such as chlorination of water or the addition of iodine to salt.
The Science Media Centre approached experts for reaction to the decision.
Dr Jonathan Broadbent, Public Health Dentistry Specialist at the University of Otago comments:
“This decision reaffirms the legal basis of the scientifically sound practice of community water fluoridation. The people of New Zealand have the right to benefit from this effective public health practice. Community water fluoridation benefits everyone, especially those New Zealanders who are disadvantaged.”
Prof Murray Thomson, Dental Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Otago, comments:
“This sensible judgment affirms the important role of community water fluoridation in keeping New Zealanders healthy.”
We will update this page with further comments as they are received.